Our brilliant and very exciting title, The Bad Boy’s Guide to the Good Indian Girl, by Smriti Ravindra and Annie Zaidi has been getting some splendid reviews. This doesn’t happen too often with our titles, most publications are biased and believe our titles are too niche, a false accusation, you’ll realise when you go through our catalogues.
But its true, The Bad Boy’s Guide to the Good Indian Girl, is a one-of-a-kind title. It’s revolutionary because our fantastic authors have managed to fictionalise or rather contextualise non-fiction accounts by men and women they’ve interviewed and to put across their narratives in quirky, subversive ways.
If you haven’t yet read the book, and you need a little nudge, do check out these reviews. If you have read the book and have your own opinion about it, we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to send in a comment, we’ll be happy to feature it on the blog.
Right from the book’s onset, the authors claim that every generation has had their share of GIGs (Good Indian Girls, abbreviated throughout the book). While the story called Buzz is a fun take on the literal ‘buzz’ that is created, when a girl asks her male classmate the way to the toilet in his house at a party — Panty Lines outlines the relationship a girl shares with her panties, including the association of shame and forbidden desires attached to it. Boobs, is an astute observation about how peers can make one feel worthless and ashamed about one’s body.
The writing style is colloquial and therefore easy to identify with. The narratives could be from anywhere in India, though Annie is keen that readers not adopt a closed approach to their origins. “I resent blinkered phrases like ‘stories from small-town India’ or ‘Gen Next’. I have met conservative women even in Mumbai. For instance, as a cub reporter, I was once scolded by a woman for asking men, instead of women, for directions when I was lost.”
Paromita Vohra, the edgy writer and documentary film-maker reviewed the book for Tehelka in a piece called The Nervy Ones
The book’s memoir-like writing is gleaming filigree, delicately detailing the tiny shifts of implication girls gauge to see how far they can go, how much more they can want — unlike the Schneider and Fein type girl, their wanting is huge. It lays out the web of reputation, violence and confusion, the extreme fear of being alone that leads to lives of both depression and defeat as well as chance-taking, effrontery, bold fun lies and canny manipulations. These stories, with few morals, absorb you, make you laugh, and quiet you — especially those of the Singh sisters, who call boys from a landline hidden in the cupboard and who end up marrying exactly the boys they want, through deft moves, whereby the defeated patriarch PP Singh doesn’t even know he’s been bested.
Annie Zaidi and Smriti Ravindra’s book The Bad Boy’s Guide to Good Indian Girl tells me that this is one of the qualities of a GIG (good Indian girl) and who is the Bad Indian Girl (BIG). They dissect this and many other facets of being a GIG and unearth the complexities of living in a society that is modern and traditional at the same time. This complex phenomenon unfolds through stories of many women, interwoven, laying bare the hard work that goes into being a GIG. It is funny. It is enlightening. It is non-judgmental. And it is upsetting in many, many ways.
And finally (at least for the moment), the review in The Hindu who covered the launch of the book in Bangalore. Read “And the Good Girl Is” for more. Meanwhile, an excerpt:
The book has been co-authored by Annie and Smriti Ravindra and the whole book is an attempt to locate this creature known popularly as the ‘good Indian girl’ says Zaidi, “The book is an attempt to figure it out – we talked to women in the sub-continent and wrote stories on their stories and it culminated in this book.
If you can’t take our word for it, you can go by the reviews, and with the click of a button and for just Rs 207 (Rs 88 discount), you can own your very own copy of The Bad Boy’s Guide to the Good Indian Girl through Flipkart.
A few days ago, Zubaan had run a twitter contest, inviting tweets with the hashtag ‘goodindiangirl’. Funny, quirky, honest, random. There were dozens of responses and the ones that appealed most to us won free copies of the book and t-shirts. There were others that we liked just as much, but could not agree on. Here is a list of tweets. The ones we can still find on our TLs anyway.
If there are more you know of, or something you’d like to add to the list, go ahead and do it. The comments space beckons.
Aneela Z Babar: Would a #goodindiangirl be tweeting from the bathroom?Hiding from her toddler? No? Than probably I’m stuck being a #BadPakistaniWoman
Manisha Lakhe: hai hai! #goodindiangirl kisi ko tag kaise karegi? tag wale khel mein tap karna hota hai, woh kisi ko chuegi kaise?
TweetTiger: A #goodindiangirl always lets her husband come first. #doubleentendre